Failed Texas biotech exec gains from state tech fund

One of the beneficiaries of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund has been David Nance, who started the biotech company Introgen Therapeutics and helped raise more than $700 million from investors excited by its lead cancer drug's blockbuster potential. Introgen's NDA for Advexin, though, was rejected by the FDA in 2008, and the developer quickly slid into bankruptcy and oblivion.

But as the Dallas Morning News reports in an in-depth investigation, none of that stopped Nance from gaining $2 million from the state's new technology fund for a nonprofit incubator he set up. Nance has been a generous contributor to Governor Rick Perry, one of several who collectively garnered $16 million in state funds.   

After Nance left Introgen in the spring of last year, the company liquidator filed suit to reclaim $669,000 in what was described as "excessive personal spending." Expenses included $900 hotel rooms, designer clothing and spa visits. On one occasion he reportedly purchased a Hummer used to woo an investor in the UK.

For Nance's part, he chalked up all his financial troubles, including a personal bankruptcy, to the same pressures that brought down a lot of entrepreneurs in the state.

"The history of our state provides a stage for risk takers who dare to dream whether it is oil and gas exploration, farming and ranching or new technologies," he wrote to the Morning News.

- read the Dallas Morning News article